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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Addition to ther Series!
A clear, concise and totally interesting account of the life of John Tyler, one of America's forgotten Presidents. Mr. May presents a balanced portrait of Tyler's term of office, giving his readers a true picture of a President who worked tirelessly to do what he felt was right (not support the National Bank), regardless of party, and wound up losing his party...
Published on December 26, 2008 by S. Schockow

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too little
The more I read, the more I wanted more information. This book seems to gloss over Tyler's fight with Clay, the various treaties that he ratified and the annexation of Texas. There was the same amount of information on these events as there was on his infatuation with Julia Gardiner. Throughout the book, the author quotes another historian/biographer of Tyler, mostly...
Published on June 26, 2011 by Caroline Miller


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Addition to ther Series!, December 26, 2008
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
A clear, concise and totally interesting account of the life of John Tyler, one of America's forgotten Presidents. Mr. May presents a balanced portrait of Tyler's term of office, giving his readers a true picture of a President who worked tirelessly to do what he felt was right (not support the National Bank), regardless of party, and wound up losing his party affiliation because of it. The en masse resignations of all but one member of his Cabinet is also chronicled in vivid detail. The key role that Tyler played in the acquisition of Texas has been conveniently forgotten by historians and the author squarely gives Tyler his due. Tyler's flawed strategy of gaining land to "slowly eliminate slavery" is also examined. Tyler's support of states' rights is well-known, but Mr. May does not make it the focus of this volume.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb introduction to an unjustly overlooked president, January 22, 2011
By 
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
John Tyler has long suffered from bad press. Derided as "His Accidency" by contemporaries who considered him unworthy of the office he inherited, he has long been marginalized as one of our less successful presidents. Yet such treatment minimizes his considerable legacy. As the first vice president who succeeded to the presidency because of the death of the incumbent, he established a precedent for legitimacy that has been followed by all seven of his successors who followed his path to the White House. As president, he settled major outstanding differences with Great Britain and championed - and in the waning days of his administration, gained - the annexation of Texas. Such achievements suggest that his contribution to both the presidency and to American history have been seriously under-appreciated.

Gary May's book goes far towards rectifying this. His short biography provides a nice overview of Tyler's life and political career. Born into the Virginia plantation aristocracy, Tyler benefited from the wealth and connections it provided. He followed his father into politics, and served as governor and senator for his state before resigning on a point of principle. Yet May makes clear that his selection as vice president was made more for the lack of better alternatives than for his individual qualifications. With Harrison's abrupt death after only a month in the White House, Tyler spent nearly a full term as president, pursuing his own ambitious agenda despite his political isolation. Abandoned by the Whigs and spurned by the Democrats, Tyler found himself a man without a party, and was forced to abandon his hopes for another term as president.

Insightful and readable, May's book is one of the more successful entries in "The American Presidents" series. With its focus on their White House tenure, series is not always a good fit with its subjects. Yet with Tyler it is ideal, giving the author the ability to illuminate an often overshadowed presidency. Though the period is outside of May academic specialization, none of this is apparent from his command of both the historical details and the literature on the period. All of this makes May's book a superb starting point for anyone interested in an introduction to the life and career of America's tenth president, one far more worthy of attention than it has traditionally received.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty well done biography of John Tyler, October 9, 2009
By 
Steven A. Peterson (Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
Trivia question: Who was the first Vice President to rise to the Presidency as a result of the death of a sitting President? Answer: John Tyler, who became President after the death of William Henry Harrison very early in his term.

Tyler came from a goof background, owned a plantation and had slaves. He was a part of the so-called Virginia Aristocracy, and saw himself as one more in the line of Virginia presidents--from Jefferson to Monroe. To cement his place in the arena of the well-to-do, he married well (to Letitia).

Public service became a part of his life, as he served in Congress and the Senate and at the state level, too. He was uncomfortable with the Whigs (irony indeed!); he was an unreconstructed states' rights advocate, suspicious of a strong central government. The book describes the series of steps by which he ended up being selected as Vice President to William Henry Harrison (hence, Tippecanoe and Tyler, too). Although Harrison was elected as a Whig, Tyler was not comfortable with the party's positions on many issues (e.g., a national bank, a system of internal improvements, tariffs, and so on). Upon Harrison's shocking death, Tyler rose to the office.

This book well tells his struggles, as he opposes many of those among the Whigs, as he tries to advance his agenda against the opposition of many. He was not one of the more important presidents, but there were accomplishments (whether one agree with them or not), especially in international relations (e.g., United States' relations with Texas).

Some interesting personal aspects to this work. The death of his wide Letitia devastated him, but he soon found a much younger woman with whom he fell in love (scandalizing many).

Although he desired re-election, he had no support. He tried an abortive third party candidacy and gave that up for a purported deal with candidate James Polk.

Tyler remained active in politics, and was even involved in efforts to avert the Civil War.

Not one of the better known (or better accomplished) American Presidents. But this book does provide, in a brief biography, a solid introduction to this "accidental" President.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And Tyler too., May 9, 2009
By 
Kevin M Quigg (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
I found this book very enjoyable and a joy to read. May tells why Tyler does matter in American history. Without him, some other politicians would not have had the guts to annex Texas. He also settled boundaries with Great Britain over Canada. He had the courage to face Clay over his convictions on a Central Bank. On this issue, he lost the backing of the Whig Party and became persona non grata in the political establishment. His further support of the Confederacy alienated him from any Northern support and any legacy with historians.

A nice easy read about our 10th President. This is a nice summary of a complicated man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Accidental" President, October 27, 2010
This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
For the first time in U.S. history, a sitting U.S. President (William Henry Harrison) died in office, thus promoting the vice president (in this case John Tyler) into the "captain's chair". This is the story of that first "accidental" president.

Though the inauguration of Tyler started the presidential trend of moving away from the "Virginia Dynasties", and also moving away from the characters that are household names, author Gary May still manages to make the Tyler presidency both relevant and interesting.

What I really like about this book is its ability to shed light both on Tyler's personal life, as well as the background of his political life and times. Basically, there is nothing here to discourage you from continuing with this series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Enlightening, and Tyler too..., February 12, 2012
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Who in the world knows anything about John Tyler, other than historians and possibly his family? Admittedly, I did not. I knew the name, I recognized that he was a former president, but I did not know much about him, or his administration. I am in the process of reading the biographies of presidents, in order, just to know a little about thes folks that have led our nation. What I have found out about John Tyler really, really interested me. Tyler was never elected as "president", as he was the vice president to the deceased WH Harrison who passed after 32 days in office from pneumonia. Dubbed "His Accidency" and the "Accidental President" by his Whig party, who wanted him to continue Whig policy under the direction of Henry Clay, Tyler spurned his own political party. Tyler assumed full power upon Harrison's death, even though the Constitution was unclear as to what his role would be after the President's death. His spurning caused him to be one of the most hated (some worth hate, some not) of all presidents, and certainly the most to that point. He was the last of the "Virginia Line" of Presidents. He vetoed his own party's legislation, on numerous occasions. His wife died in office, and sank him into a deep depression. He wooed a woman 30 years his junior and had a secret marriage by which he didn't even invite his own family. He had a child with his new wife, Julia, when he was 70 years old and has living grandchildren today. He tried to join the Democratic Party, and was booted out, forcefully, while in office by the Whigs. His Cabinet (sans Daniel Webster, famous orator) ditched him in midstream. He achieved a treaty with Great Britain, avoiding war. He had a secret police that conducted, likely illegal, investigations at his request. He was aboard a boat that was shooting a cannon which backfired and killed his future father-in-law, and members of his administration in grotesque fashion. He had an ambition to annex Texas, and accomplished it 3 days before his administration ended, and tried to expand the US border to the Pacific Ocean, setting the groundwork for those annexations as well. His annexations of Texas helped lead us to the Civil War because of sympathies to the slavery institution. He owned slaves. He tried to start his own political party, and then, saw that he could not win, and threw his support behind the Democratic Candidate, Polk, likely securing Polk's victory. He was asked, in his later years, to try to broker peace between the Union and the Confederacy (funny because he was so hated while he was President). He failed, joined the Confederacy, was branded a traitor (even sat in Virginia's Confederate Legislature) and died during the Civil War. No ceremony was given, no flags flew at half staff, and Jefferson Davis attended his funeral.

All this for a President who was never elected to that position. Wow, what a ride. I enjoyed this book thoroughly. I learned a great deal I thought the writing of this book was objective and factual, but entertaining enough to stay enthralled. I will never look at Tyler Street in my home town the same again! History buffs, give it a read. You will learn that there is more to John Tyler than "Tippecanoe and Tyler too!"
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4.0 out of 5 stars 15 Kids Mr Tyler!, July 29, 2014
This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
President Tyler is definitely one of the forgotten presidents in American history. That being said, there were some fairly important events that occurred under his watch. The battle over Texas being the biggest. Ultimately, he will be remembered as being on the wrong side of history for his views on slavery. He might have moved up a few ratings in the list of presidents if he hadn't gone that route.

I think 150 pages of John Tyler is just about right. Decently written with a concise well explained narrative about that man. A worthy addition to this series.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too little, June 26, 2011
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
The more I read, the more I wanted more information. This book seems to gloss over Tyler's fight with Clay, the various treaties that he ratified and the annexation of Texas. There was the same amount of information on these events as there was on his infatuation with Julia Gardiner. Throughout the book, the author quotes another historian/biographer of Tyler, mostly to disagree with this point of view or to strengthen one of his own point. As a general overview, the book is not a bad one. For those wanting more about this president, his insights and his accomplishments, look elsewhere.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Presidential Biography, June 1, 2014
By 
James M. Fogle (Lacey, Wa United States) - See all my reviews
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Presidential Biography
The book is well written by an informed author. I am reading a biography of every US president.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prsident Series, May 23, 2014
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This review is from: John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845) (Hardcover)
The publishers need to publish the few remaing presidents missing in this series. Otherwise should be required reading for all.
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John Tyler (The American Presidents Series: The 10th President, 1841-1845)
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